20 Miles

Club Deville--SXSW

March 17, 2005

BY JASON SONGE


Well, vocalist/guitarist Judah Bauer was off to a good start. Before he played a song, he served up a bitter comment about SXSW being a home to amateurs. Bauer must have a professional musician trophy.

He's the guitarist for established blues-rock trio Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Bauer formed side project 20 Miles in 1996 after the Blues Explosion backed Mississippi bluesman R.L. Burnside on his album, "Ass Pocket of Whiskey." After Bauer said Burnside was ill, 20 Miles dedicated a song to him Thursday night at Club Deville during their SXSW showcase.

20 Miles was a NYC trio that played raw, minimalistic blues-rock. Bauer's earnest and confident vocals saved slumping, depressed, sparser songs that contained one or two chords.

The rest of the set was composed of medium-paced songs with head-boppin' Stones grooves.

The music rocked, and the crowd dug it.



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